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Rethink What Modern Means
Apex Custom Fabrication
In some corners of the decorating world, “modern” is considered a dirty word. There’s a belief that modern rooms are cold and lack personality. But nothing could be further from the truth. Modern living rooms can be warm, inviting, and sometimes even downright cozy. While modern living rooms may lack some of the frills of their more embellished counterparts, they make up for it in their sleek sense of style.
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Warm and Cozy
Raven Inside Interior Design / Brandon Barre
What’s not to love about a room with comfortable furniture, a soothing palette, and a take notice focal point? This modern living room from Raven Inside Interior Design has them all. The sleek lines and no-frills approach to decorating are both modern and minimal, yet there’s nothing cold or impersonal about it. The warm finishes and soft furnishings make this a great room for spending a cozy night in.
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Who says modern can’t be fun? Cleary not the team from Michelle Lewis Interior Design, the masterminds behind this creative room. Abstract art, a unique light fixture, and an array of colors and finishes come together to create a space that looks great and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
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What many people don’t appreciate about modern design is how easily it can be combined with other styles. This room, for instance, has some traditional architectural bones (courtesy of Murphy & Co) yet the furniture and art skew modern. Together they form an almost transitional style which can be appealing to a wide variety of people.
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Lori Pedersen Home Staging and Styling / Victor Wei
Make a small modern space appear larger with a white color palette and see-through furnishings. This modern condo designed by Lori Pedersen Home Staging and Styling has a small footprint but thanks to the use of negative space (mainly around the acrylic coffee table) it appears larger than it really is.
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Intense Focal Point
Beinfield Architecture / Robert Benson Photography
The fireplace is almost always the focal point of a room, so why not beef it up to create an entire focal wall? In this sleek living room designed by Beinfield Architecture, the focal wall is not particularly flashy, but it has a huge impact on the overall look and feel of the space. The metal panels add texture which provides more depth than something flat like paint would. It’s minimal, yet the results are huge.
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Pop of Color
M House Inc. / Stephanie Buchman
A pop of bright color and a take notice pattern are great ways to add a little excitement to a modern living room. In the case of this bright room designed by Shirley Meisels, the bright yellow chairs add life and excitement yet they don’t detract from the fireplace focal point. For anyone who thinks modern is boring, this living room should change their mind.
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Dramatic Light Fixture
Every room needs something special—a conversation piece that grabs your attention and completes the space. In this room from ZR Architects, it’s the unique light fixture. It stands out and draws the eye to it, but it still fits in beautifully with the space. Notice how the shape mimics that of the side table, creating a connection and a sense of unity.
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Clean and Organized
There’s something very soothing about a room with simple furnishings and basic, clean-lined accessories. In this modern living room there’s a pronounced sense of cleanliness and organization, but to keep things from becoming boring or sterile, designer Susan Manrao played with the furniture shapes, contrasting curved lines with straight. A unique wall mirror and sculptural floor lamp complete the look of this simple yet dynamic space.
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Connect With the Outdoors
A common element found in ultra-modern homes is large windows that open up and connect the space with the outdoors. To make the most of this arrangement make sure to stick with a somewhat minimalist style. Make sure there’s plenty of breathing room between pieces and don’t over-accessorize. Take this room from D’Cruz Interior Design as a perfect example.
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The graphic combination of black and white is ideal for the often graphic sensibilities of modern design, like in this space from ZR Architects. The sharp lines and streamlined silhouettes suit the acute contrast in color and result in a look that is both contemporary and gender-neutral.
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Gray has been the go-to neutral for at least a decade, and it works beautifully in modern living rooms, like this one from Grand Design London. Cooler shades, in particular, speak to the aesthetic of the modern design, and when combined with black furniture you get a sleek and urban look.
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Nocile Hollis / Ben Mayorga
In every modern living room, there’s room for one statement piece. And there’s no reason why that piece shouldn’t be either an antique or something unusual. In this room from Nicole Hollis, the console table has a decorative Moroccan flair which is a definite contrast to all the other sleek pieces in the room. The piece stands out, but thanks to muted brown finish it doesn’t look out of place with all the other neutral pieces.
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Modern With Mid-Century Flair
A modern living room can be given a little vintage boost with mid-century modern furniture. This sleek living room from Third Stone boats a smooth paneled wall, glossy floors, and a large picture window, but the Barcelona chairs and sofa, as well as the sunburst clock, add a little 1950’s flair.
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Modern design is ideal for those who favor minimalism. All unnecessary elements can be stripped away, be it furniture, accessories, or decorative embellishments. The simple and streamlined aesthetic encourages thoughtful design and suggests that items that are not needed can be eliminated, leaving an open, unencumbered space. This is a great way to showcase beautiful flooring, like in this minimalist room courtesy of The Hudson Company.
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Can modern design be fun and interesting? Absolutely! All it takes is a statement piece or two, some bold colors, and the willingness to follow one’s own sense of style. While the majority of pieces in this eccentric room designed by Amitzi Architects are modern, the Turkish rug pulls them together in a unique way. Combined with the statement light fixture and bold wall art, this room manages to be modern, yet has its own distinct personality.
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Sometimes modern design is about thinking of things in a new and different way. Traditionally sofas have been an integral part of living rooms, but this modern space from NDC Homes shows that sofas are not a necessity. While the natural inclination would have been to place a sofa in front of the fireplace, in this room three Barcelona chairs provide a modern substitute.
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Feminine Modern Living Room
It’s hard to go wrong with an all-white color palette. Since modern design is about simplicity, white is a natural fit. It’s also surprisingly easy to add personality. This room from Marina Dagenais at Design Premier is very simple, yet it has a definite feminine flair. The curved lines of the furniture, the shapely chandeliers, and the floral arrangements bring a feminine sensibility to this modern living room.
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Even though there are guidelines for every style of decorating, there are no rules. This blue-themed room, courtesy of MB Jesse Painting, definitely fits the bill for modern style, yet it has several unique elements that separate it from the crowd. Between the wow-factor feature wall, large-scale art, and ball side table, this modern living room has a style all its own.
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Comfort and Relaxation
Raven Inside Interior Design / Brandon Barre
A modern living room with comfortable furniture, a cozy fireplace and a stunning view is the perfect place for family gatherings. The key to this comfy room is the seating. Raven Inside Interior Designcreated an arrangement that provides a certain amount of intimacy while the softness encourages comfort and relaxation.
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Warm Colors in a Modern Living Room
To take some of the severity away from modern style, consider light but warm colors. The built-in wall unit in this modern and polished room from Candace Mary Interiors is most certainly modern in style, but the light wood tone adds softness.
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Sexy and Dramatic
Modern design can be very sexy and dramatic. Long, luxurious drapes, a take notice fireplace wall (courtesy of Apex Custom Fabrication), and a restrained color palette comprised mostly of charcoal make it happen in this living room. To create a look like this avoid anything that could be considered visual clutter and focus on large expanses of color and material.